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Allen & Overy LLP is ‘a first-choice firm for DCM work; standards are very high, particularly in complex deals with challenging technical issues’. ‘Highly valued liability management adviser’ Jonathan Melton, who leads the team following Stephen Miller’s move to Hong Kong, advised several leading banks on multibillion-pound tender offers for outstanding debt. Other highlights included Theo Trayhurn’s advice to Barclays on the $6.5bn BHP Billiton multi-currency hybrid bond issue; Philip Smith’s advice to Deutsche Bank on a €400m guaranteed notes offering; Jamie Durham and Sachin Davé’s work for Turkcell on a $500m issuance; Matthew Hartley’s advice to a multinational on a €1bn debt exchange offer; and Jonathan Mellor’s work for a large UK retailer on a £500m convertible bond. Tom Grant stands out for his work on regulatory capital and corporate hybrid transactions.

Clifford Chance LLP stands out for its ‘high level of service’ and for its ‘well-staffed teams, which help clients through tricky scenarios’. Head of capital markets Simon Sinclair advised arranger Traderisks on £200m in CPI-linked bonds issued by the Greater London Authority (GLA), with project bonds specialist Clare Burgess acting for GLA. In other highlights, Sinclair and US-qualified Stewart Dunlop advised managers on offerings by UBS Group Funding totalling $4.3bn; David Dunnigan (who is ‘very good at managing client relationships’ and stands out for sovereign and development bank issuance) advised lead manager SocGen on Cameroon’s $750m debut Eurobond; and David Bickerton and newly promoted partner Paul Deakins advised University of Liverpool on £250m in unsecured bonds. ‘Attentive and technically spot-on’ senior associate Peter Pears is one to watch.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘commercial, precise and detailed’ capital markets group is led by Elaine Keats, who provides ‘market-leading advice, technical expertise and depth of knowledge when it comes to liability management’. Richard Levy and US-qualified Cecil Quillen provided English and New York law advice on Standard Chartered’s $2bn fixed rate convertible securities issuance. Ben Dulieu and newly promoted partner Neil Dixon advised Centrica on a €1.4bn issuance, and Carson Welsh acted for BNP Paribas on a £626m bond issuance to recapitalise Eurobank. Other key figures include Yaroslav Alekseyev, who is ‘among the best providers of Yankee bond advice’; Richard O’Callaghan, who leads on equity-linked bonds; and Keith Thomson, who is ‘very strong and knows the market inside out’.

A standout firm for DCM’, White & Case LLP is highly active in emerging markets and is increasing its presence in Europe. Global practice head Stuart Matty (who ‘understands how to work with clients’) and Melissa Butler (who is noted for her ‘truly excellent understanding of English and US law’) acted for the lead managers including Barclays Bank on Ghana’s $1bn issuance of amortising bonds. The practice’s ‘deep bench of experts’ includes Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, who advised the managers including Deutsche Bank on a $750m offering by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic. Michael Doran and US capital markets partners Ian Clark and Doron Loewinger acted alongside Fitzherbert-Brockholes and Matty for the government of Ukraine on its $15bn sovereign Eurobond restructuring.

Ashurst provides ‘great service; even on trickier deals the lawyers have proven competitive at the highest level’. The ‘proactive, long-sighted’ Anna Delgado advised Lloyds Bank as arranger on a €500m debut bond for packaging company DS Smith; and acted alongside Christopher Hardingham (who is ‘a thrill to have on any deal’) for SBAB Bank on a SEK1.5bn Tier 1 capital notes issuance. Francis Kucera (‘a pleasure to work with; he makes sure deals get done’) assisted Petropavlovsk with its $335m convertible bond refinancing, and is recommended alongside ‘practical and intelligent’ senior associate Alexander Biles, and counsel Malcolm Charles, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP and strengthens the practice’s trustee expertise.

Baker McKenzie LLPhas a great reputation in cross-border debt transactions’. Roy Pearce (who is ‘an excellent capital markets lawyer’) acted alongside Adam Farlow in three offerings for Ukraine’s Metinvest, including a $750m tranche of guaranteed notes. Also recommended are Simon Porter, whose trustee practice goes from strength to strength; and Chris Hogan, who stands out for debt and equity-linked deals in emerging markets, and advised the Kingdom of Bahrain on a $1.5bn Rule 144a bond offering. Don Guiney is recommended for US law matters.

In an illustration of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s strength in US law matters, Pierre-Marie Boury advised dealer manager Citigroup on a $400m tender offer by Republic of Iceland. In other highlight US law matters, David Gottlieb acted for Armenian bank Ardshinbank on a $100m offering of amortising notes, and Sebastian Sperber advised UBS and Deutsche Bank on Pershing Square’s inaugural $1bn Rule 144a bond offering. In English law deals, Simon Ovenden advised America Movil on its €3bn exchangeable bond offering.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has ‘a very strong DCM practice with a constructive attitude to deals’. The firm excels in Yankee bonds; John Banes advised AstraZeneca on $6bn of takedowns from its notes programme, and acted for the managers on Société Générale’s $1.5bn Rule 144a issuance. Simon Witty and Reuven Young assisted General Electric and dealer managers on exchange offers for $36bn of outstanding debt. Jeffrey Oakes has retired.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, the ‘innovative and highly commercialPeter Allen, who is ‘one of the leading lawyers in the DCM space’ and stands out for emerging markets deals, acted alongside liability management specialist Duncan Kellaway for the lead managers on Republic of Zambia’s $1.5bn notes issuance, and for Hikma Pharmaceuticals on a $500m guaranteed notes offering. Partner Stuart Grider, counsel Nick Hayday and senior associate Jamie Corner are also recommended.

A very good DCM house with strong market experience’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team is noted for its ‘willingness to push boundaries’. Key figures include the ‘approachable, pragmatic, commercial’ Amy Geddes and head of DCM Andrew Roberts, who are ‘focused, proactive and knowledgeable’. Roberts advised the lead managers on Republic of Namibia’s $750m bond, and Geddes acted for easyJet on a £3bn EMTN programme. Tom O’Neill joined from King & Spalding International LLP and leads on US securities. Steve Thierbach joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Latham & Watkins is ‘very strong in DCM and has a strong suit in emerging markets debt’. The practice is highly active in euro-denominated bond issuances; Lene Malthasen (who is ‘great to work with’) advised Vimpelcom on a cash tender offer for $2.1bn in outstanding dollar-denominated Eurobonds. Malthasen and David Stewart acted for arrangers including Morgan Stanley on the establishment of a $10bn MTN programme for the Arab Republic of Egypt. Jeffrey Lawlis is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team of ‘expert partners’ is ‘friendly, quick to respond and adds real value to DCM deals’. Peter Young advised the Republic of Angola on its inaugural $1.5bn bond, and acted alongside Farmida Bi for the government of Pakistan on a $500m offering. Peter Noble, whose strong Canadian practice saw him advise banks on more than €15bn in new issuances in 2015, also acted for the underwriters on the Province of Alberta’s $6bn global MTN programme. US-qualified Thomas Vita advised Akbank on two $500m offerings in 2015. Tak Matsuda retired.

Clients of Shearman & Sterling LLP consider it to be ‘one of the best for complex, high-end US transactions’. In key 2015 highlights, Richard Price advised Anglo American on four offerings totalling $2.5bn; David Dixter advised the underwriters of RBS’s $3.15bn combined issuance; and Mei Lian and Apostolos Gkoutzinis assisted Piraeus Bank with liability management and the issuance of contingent convertible bonds. Also recommended are James Duncan, for English law matters; Trevor Ingram, for US law matters; and newly promoted partner Marwa Elborai.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s issuer-focused practice is particularly rated for complex US law matters. Danny Tricot and Pranav Trivedi were part of a multinational team that advised underwriter HSBC Securities on a $10bn senior notes and contingent convertible bond issuance. Tricot and James McDonald acted for Russian Standard Bank shareholder Roust Trading on a $550m Eurobond restructuring. James Healy is also recommended.

Slaughter and May attracts praise for its ‘outstanding service; there are no areas that could be improved’. Predominantly an issuer-side practice, it has nevertheless attracted bank clients such as Standard Chartered and Santander; Miranda Leung advised the latter on an issuance under its JPY30bn EMTN programme. In other key highlights, Matthew Tobin advised International Airports Group on unsecured bond issuances totalling €1bn, and Guy O’Keefe assisted UK Asset Resolution with a £283m issuance. Ed Fife is ‘always willing to go the extra mile and always takes up the task with enthusiasm’.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has ‘an excellent team of capital markets lawyers, which focuses on quality rather than quantity’. Vanessa Blackmore and Chris Beatty acted for Pershing Square on its inaugural $1bn senior notes offering. John O’Connor acts for Barclays on its multibillion-dollar notes issuance, and George White advised Anheuser-Busch InBev on $565m in debt financing to fund its acquisition of SABMiller. Kathryn Campbell’s clients include BP.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, Jeremy Willcocks excels in emerging markets sovereign debt and acted alongside 25-year veteran Whitney Debevoise for an African sovereign on a multimillion-dollar international retail bond. Steven Tepper is also recommended. Other clients include the republics of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kenya.

Key figures at CMS include Daniel Winterfeldt, who is ‘one of the few go-to lawyers in London for US securities law’; he acted alongside Michael Cavers and Jason Harding for Wellcome Trust on a €400m bond issuance. In other highlights, Cavers continued to advise Enterprise Inns on liability management and consent solicitations, and Harding advised Société Générale on a €2bn issuance as part of its €50bn EMTN programme.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a strong Yankee bonds practice that acts for both corporate issuers and underwriters. Philip Boeckman’s highlights included advising European Investment Bank on ten registered debt offerings totalling $34.5bn. David Mercado acted for the underwriters on three takedowns totalling $5.81bn from Credit Suisse’s MTN programme.

At DLA Piper, head of financial markets Martin Bartlam advised dealers including Banco Santander on the update of Santander Consumer Bank’s €2.5bn EMTN programme; and Ronan Mellon assisted Hewlett Packard with its $3bn commercial paper programme. In another highlight, Bartlam and Mellon acted for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi on debt facilities for a €120m infrastructure project financing. Mark Dwyer joined from Slaughter and May and adds extensive experience on European DCM matters.

Dechert LLP is known for its ‘efficiency, transparency and good governance’, as well as for its ‘heavy partner involvement’. In an illustration of its emerging markets work, Camille Abousleiman and Patrick Lyons advised Arab Republic of Egypt on its $10bn global MTN programme, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on issuances totalling $1.5bn. Other clients include Bank Audi and Greek telecoms company OTE Group.

Dentons is ‘particularly excellent on Islamic debt instruments and emerging markets DCM’. David Cohen advised the Republic of Ghana on the issuance of $1bn in bonds partially guaranteed by the International Development Association. Matthew Sapte (‘highly qualified to deal with difficult and complex matters’) acted for the Government of Ras Al Khaimah on the update of a $2bn trusts certificate issuance programme. The firm also advised on the restructuring of LPN notes issued by Ukraine’s PrivatBank.

Andrew Carey leads Hogan Lovells International LLP’s team, which is noted for its ‘top-notch service’ and ‘wealth of experience’. Carey acted for FCE Bank in EMTN issuances totalling €3.7bn. US law specialist Sylvain Dhennin, who joined from Dentons, advised HNA Group on a complex €1.5bn debt financing for the acquisition of Swissport Group. Kit Johnson specialises in trustee advice and ‘brings years of experience to the table’.

Mayer Brown International LLP combines strength in US and European debt transactions. Clients praise the ‘experience, knowledge, dedication and negotiation skills’ of dual France and US qualified Robert Flanigan; he acted for Autopista del Sol, Concesionaria Española on the €570m Ausol project bond. In another key mandate, James Taylor advised RBS as arranger on HSH Nordbank's €35bn debt issuance programme governed by German and English law. Bernd Bohr is also recommended.

Tamara Box leads the team at Reed Smith LLP, which is ‘excellent in all respects’. Ranajoy Basu advised the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan on a $4bn notes issuance under its MTN programme, and assisted Instiglio with an innovative $238m social impact bond framework to fund education projects in developing countries. Other clients include Deutsche Trustee Company and Citibank.

At Sidley Austin LLP, David Howe (who ‘finds solutions in complex transactions’), Mark Walsh and counsel Vivian Root advised banks including Goldman Sachs on US and English law aspects of Rolls Royce’s $1.5bn Rule 144a offering. Walsh and Root also advised the underwriters on three offerings for ABN AMRO, including a $500m senior notes issue. Bart Capeci joined King & Wood Mallesons and Stephen Roith left the firm.

Simmons & Simmonsis a major player that is good value for money and has a growing reputation among financial institutions’. Piers Summerfield and managing associate Tony Geffin advised DONG Energy on a €600m offering, and Summerfield advised new client Commonwealth Bank of Australia on a EMTN issuance. US-qualified Daniel Maalo joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feldhas a full understanding of clients’ needs’, and is a market leader for cross-border private placements. Sarah Smith advised investors on North West Electricity Networks’ £305m fixed rate and RPI-linked notes issuance. Barry Russell, Mark Mansell and the ‘truly exceptional’ Robert Aulsebrook are also recommended.

At K&L Gates LLP, trustee specialist Sean Crosky is ‘very good on deal closings and is comfortable explaining tricky situations’. He advised corporate service provider Capita on the restructuring of Ukrexim Bank’s $1.48bn LPN programme. Stephen Moller is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons advised Morgan Stanley on updating its $5bn note, warrant and certificate programme. Andrew Bliss led the team on that matter and also acted for Canadian convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard on its NOK675m debut European bond.

Macfarlanes LLPhas a superb debt capital markets practice’, which includes the ‘smart, astute and technically strongRichard Fletcher, who led on the establishment of a bond programme to fund the Department for Communities and Local Government’s £3.5bn private rented sector guarantee scheme.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP US securities partner Carter Brod advised Pearson plc on its €500m issuance, and acted for the steering committee of Grenada bondholders on an exchange offer for the government of Grenada’s $262m defaulted bonds.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s Peter Green and Jeremy Jennings-Mares advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch as underwriter on Bank of America Corporation’s €1.5bn senior notes offering. Brian Bates and Scott Ashton, who are known for cross-border private placements, advised the University of Edinburgh on its £100m private placement of senior notes.

Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its ‘combination of technical ability and a good-value proposition’. Edward Sunderland (‘a very safe pair of hands’) advised Lloyds Bank on a £20m private placement to Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association. Stephen Tobin and project bond specialist Michael Watson are also recommended.

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